After the WWII, there was need to bring back peace to Europe in a lasting manner. There was need to bring a halt to international hatred and bring conditions necessary for a lasting peace into being. This was seen to fruition in the 1950s and one of the vehicles towards achieving this was European Union.
The wars that took place un Europe highly ravaged the economy of the country hence there was need to revitalize the economy of the region hence the formation of the EU was not only a political device to forging peace but an economic tool to ensure that the natural resources like coal that are found in abundance in Europe are well utilized to bring the economy of the region to higher levels than even before the war regime (EUROPA, 2011). These were the two major reasons for the formation of the EU apart from the need for security, social solidarity as well as identity and diversity in a continuously globalised world.
The EU however never came to being from nothing but was a consolidation of several agreements, treaties and declarations. The main developments in Europe to make war unthinkable were the ideas of having federation, customs unions and confederations as well as reinforce democracy which hugely relied on supranational foundation. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) of 1951 in the Treaty of Paris later followed by the formation of European Economic Community (EEC) through the Treaties of Rome as well as the establishment of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC). These were declarations that were meant to bring closer ties between the European nations. The ECSC and EEC were ultimately incorporated into the EU and even the EAEC was not disbanded but maintains its separate legal identity even though it shares the membership of the countries and institutions (Juan Carlos Ocana, 2003).
The EU began with 6 members as Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany and by 2007 there were 27 members with countries like Belgium, Denmark, France Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and Spain being the major member countries of the EU. Apart from ensuring that the foreign interests of the member countries are taken care of, the EU also has the duty of promoting trade, peace and social harmony among the member countries.
The objectives of the EU foreign policy are well spelt out in the Treaty on European Union, Article 21. These are to preserve the common values of the member states, the main interests, the independence and the integrity of the EU in accordance with the UN Charter. Strengthen the security of the Union, keep peace and foster the international security, promote cooperation in an international level and nurture democracy and the rule of law.
The EU has seven major institutions that oversee the smooth running of the operations of the EU and the coordination of decisions within the EU. These are the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors (History Learning Site, 2011).
The above institutions are the ones charged with making decisions on behalf of the EU and ensuring that the decisions made are implemented. However, the EU operates under the jurisdiction of the treaties and in line with the principle of subsidiary. This principle has it that the EU can only take an action in a situation where an objective cannot be sufficiently met by the member state individually.
4. Using the United States and the European Union as examples
Each and every country or group of countries like the EU need to have their identity as a nation-state left intact and the objectives of their foreign policy met and accomplished. These two aims will at one moment or the other have to clash with the foreign policy of another country. For instance the foreign policy of the U.S.A. Of ensuring balance of power has in a number of times clashed with the need of another country to preserve its autonomy and sovereignty. To reduce such cases, the EU and the U.S.A. has adopted the allies' relationship that encourages them to enter into dialogue when their interest a re headed for a clash. This has seen the coming to development of unions like the G7, NATO, allied forces and such like in order to ensure that there is commonality and agreement in the way some issues are handled.
These interactions have not come at no costs at all but has had a long historical consequences, some of which have been good yet some divisive in nature. The collaboration among the U.S.A. friendly nations and the EU has led to peaceful resolutions and agreements being passed for instance the environmental pollution policies that have been widely accepted among the collaborating countries, among many other achievements even politically. It has however formed a number of dissenting voices on the other hand trying to form their own unions to counter the U.S.A. And EU collaboration like the Arab League and even some religious fanatical groups bent in opposing the collaborations like the Al-Qaeda.
EUROPA, (2011). Why the European Union. Retrieved September 16, 2011 from http://europa.eu/abc/12lessons/lesson_1/index_en.htm
Conjecture Corporation, (2011). What is a Nation-State? Retrieved September 14, 2011 from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-nation-state.htm
Global Policy Forum, (2011). What Is a "Nation"? Retrieved September 16, 2011 from http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations-a-states/what-is-a-nation.html
Friedrich Balke, (2007). Restating sovereignty: On America's Regaining the Old Sense of the Political. Retrieved September 16, 2011 from http://www.parrhesiajournal.org/parrhesia03/parrhesia03_balke.pdf
Robert N. Bellah, (2011). Is There a Common American Culture? Retrieved September 15, 2011
Word Press, 2011). Defining Characteristics of A Political State.